Theme song Run
Directed by Christine Gernon
Writers James Corden, Ruth Jones
|Genre SitcomRomantic comedyDrama|
Created by James CordenRuth Jones
Written by James Corden and Ruth Jones
Starring Mathew HorneJoanna PageJames CordenRuth JonesLarry LambAlison SteadmanRob BrydonMelanie Walters
Opening theme "Run" by Stephen Fretwell
Networks BBC, BBC One, BBC Three, BBC HD
Cast James Corden, Ruth Jones, Joanna Page, Mathew Horne, Rob Brydon
Gavin & Stacey is a British romantic situation comedy that follows the long-distance relationship of Gavin Shipman (Mathew Horne) from Billericay in Essex, England, and Stacey West (Joanna Page) from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. The writers of the show, actors James Corden and Ruth Jones, also co-star as Gavin and Stacey's friends, Smithy and Nessa. Other prominent cast members include Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb, who play Gavin's parents, Pam and Mick, and Melanie Walters and Rob Brydon, who portray Stacey's mother, Gwen, and her uncle, Bryn.
- Main characters
- Supporting roles
- Character names
- Guest appearances
- Series 1
- Series 2
- Christmas Special
- Series 3
- Critical reaction
- NBC 2008
- ABC pilot 200910
- Fox 201314 Us Them
- International broadcasts
- Other depictions
- Barry Islands in the Stream
- Channel 4 Comedy Gala
- DVD releases
The show was produced by Baby Cow Productions for BBC Wales. It ran for a total of 20 episodes; these were broadcast from 13 May 2007 to 1 January 2010, comprising three series and two Christmas specials. Initially, the series was shown on digital-only channel BBC Three, but a growing following meant that it was subsequently moved to BBC Two, and finally BBC One. The last episodes of the final series formed a significant part of the prime time BBC seasonal programming, and were broadcast on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year's Day 2010.
Gavin & Stacey was acclaimed as a hit breakthrough show for BBC Three, becoming the most nominated show in the 2007 British Comedy Awards. To date it has won several awards, including the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs) Audience Award, and the British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Award, both in 2008. The programme has also been well received in several other countries in which it has aired.
A US remake titled Us & Them was scheduled to air on Fox in the 2013-14 US TV season. During a filming break, production was shut down indefinitely by Fox due to poor quality scripts. On 11 October 2013, Fox revealed that only six of the 13 episodes ordered would air (being those episodes that had already been filmed), but in June 2014 Fox announced that it would not even air those six episodes.
The show follows the romance between Gavin, from Billericay in Essex, and Stacey, from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. Initially, Gavin lives with his parents, Pam and Mick, and spends most of his time with his best friend, Smithy. Stacey lives with her widowed mother, Gwen, but is frequently visited by her uncle, Bryn, who lives across the road, and her best friend Nessa. The series follows the key moments in their relationship; as they have their first meeting, meet each other's families, become engaged, get married, look for a house, briefly split up, look for new jobs and try to conceive.
The characters of Gavin and Stacey provide the emotional core of the story, and the show focuses on the situations that arise when their relationship brings their two differing families together. As a result, episodes often focus on the key events in life that bring wider families and close friends together such as weddings, christenings, birthday parties and Christmases. However, the show also presents the families interacting in deliberately non-dramatic situations; scenarios include visits to the beach and nights out.
A significant second storyline also follows the contrasting relationship between Smithy and Nessa, who despite disliking each other, have a succession of one-night stands, which result in Nessa becoming pregnant and having a baby. Whilst Gavin and Stacey are the clear main characters throughout, towards the end of the show's run the dramatic emphasis switches slightly from them, as they resolve their distance issues, to Smithy and Nessa, as Nessa becomes engaged to another man.
Other storylines that run throughout the course of the three series include Pam's fake vegetarianism, Bryn and his nephew Jason's struggle to keep the events of their disastrous fishing trip a secret (with the outcome never actually being revealed), and the ridiculously rocky marriage of Pam's friends Pete and Dawn.
The use of the surnames of known English serial killers for some of the main characters – Shipman, West and Sutcliffe — was condemned by some victims and their relatives. Ruth Jones said the choice was deliberate: "I suppose we were hoping that people wouldn't realise and then when it does come to light, it's even more delicious...."
Although the production team received requests, the show declined to use celebrity guests for cameo roles in the 2008 Christmas special. However, both Noel Sullivan and John Prescott made brief cameo appearances at the end of the final series. Both figures had formed the basis of long-running jokes throughout the series. Nessa occasionally refers to Sullivan as her housemate; a member of the band she initially lives with. Nessa had also claimed to have had an affair with Prescott.
The initial series begins with the lives of the title characters, Gavin Shipman (Mathew Horne) and Stacey West (Joanna Page). Gavin is 28 and lives at home in Billericay, Essex, with his parents Mick (Larry Lamb) and Pam (Alison Steadman) best friends Nessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Neil "Smithy" Smith (James Corden) for supposed double dates. The night ends with Gavin and Stacey returning to the hotel room and sleeping together, as do Smithy and Nessa. The couple become infatuated with each other, but Smithy and Nessa are happy to forget their drunken one-night stand and make little contact with one another afterwards. In the rest of the series, the couple continue their long distance relationship before becoming engaged and getting married. The series ends with Nessa going to inform Smithy that he is the father of her child but changes her mind at the last minute.
The second series begins with the newlyweds arriving from a honeymoon in Greece. The in-laws meet again at the Shipman's house in Essex, where Nessa has some shocking revelations – especially for Smithy, who learns that she is pregnant with his baby, and although he makes it clear he thoroughly dislikes the woman, he is generally civil and supportive towards her about their child. Meanwhile, Gavin and Stacey, living at Pam and Mick's house, run into trouble when Stacey struggles to find a job and becomes home-sick from Barry and her family. The couple try to overcome their problem by looking for an apartment or house in Essex, but Stacey is still dissatisfied and is considering moving back to South Wales to be with her family. In the final episode of the series, Stacey takes off her wedding ring, much to the upset of Gavin, but this is interrupted by the news of Nessa unexpectedly going into labour a month early. Pam, Mick and Stacey hurry across to Wales, whilst Gavin rushes to find Smithy with Smithy's sister, Rudi (Sheridan Smith), eventually finding him in the pub watching football. They arrive to find that Nessa has given birth to a boy, Neil. Gavin and Stacey decide to put their differences aside and are together once again.
An extended Christmas special involves Stacey's family, along with Nessa and her partner, Dave Coaches (Steffan Rhodri), spending Christmas with Gavin's parents. Gavin reveals that he has found a job in Cardiff, which at first causes upset for Pam and Smithy, but they both learn to accept it. Gavin later admits to Smithy that he is moving to Barry with Stacey in order to save his marriage. Smithy also gets upset when he feels that Dave, who lives with the baby, Neil, is replacing him as a father. Smithy is furthermore unhappy after Dave proposes to Nessa (with the ring enclosed in a cigarette packet), and she accepts.
Gavin begins on his new job in Wales and his parents and Smithy travel to Wales for Neil's christening. In the next episode Gavin and Stacey, and Nessa and her child Neil, spend the weekend at Pam and Mick's, and after a drunken night, it is believed that Nessa and Smithy may have once again had sex after waking up in bed together the next morning. Gavin and Stacey begin trying for a baby and Stacey is upset and disappointed when she learns that they may not be able to have children. Gavin becomes depressed and preoccupied with this issue, and in an attempt to cheer him up, Pam, Mick and Smithy arrange a surprise trip to Barry beach on a sunny bank holiday. Nessa and Dave also run into trouble after Dave learns about her alleged sexual intercourse with Smithy, but the two decide to go ahead with the wedding. In the final episode, Stacey discovers she is pregnant after all, and the couple are overjoyed and excited. Smithy shows up at Nessa and Dave's wedding ceremony with Neil, pleading for her not to marry him, and accusing her of not loving Dave. Dave, much to everyone's surprise, agrees with Smithy that Nessa does not love him, and the ceremony is called off. The series ends showing the four (Gavin, Stacey, Nessa and Smithy) on Barry beachfront, with a heavily pregnant Stacey.
The series consists of twenty episodes, broadcast over three series, and a Christmas Eve special. The first series comprised six half-hour episodes and first aired in 2007, from 13 May to 10 June 2007. The show was extended to seven episodes for the second series, which first ran in 2008, from 16 March to 20 April. The 2008 Christmas Eve special was an hour long. The third series reverted to six episodes and began on 26 November 2009, with the last two episodes of the series and show being aired on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year's Day 2010.
The BBC has also broadcast several documentaries alongside the show, examining the making of the show and showcasing a selection of 'out-takes' from the filming.
The idea for the show occurred to actor James Corden during a wedding reception, and he then developed the idea with co-writer Ruth Jones, whom he had met during the filming of ITV drama Fat Friends. Corden claims to have been inspired by the story of his own real life best friend Gavin, who met his wife over the phone at work, and arranged to meet. They presented it to the BBC as a one-off play, but the BBC instead asked for a full series. The roles of Gavin and Stacey were cast through an auditioning process, but were almost immediately given to Mathew Horne and Joanna Page on the strength of their chemistry together. The roles of Nessa and Smithy were written by Corden and Jones for themselves. Some roles were written with certain actors in mind; Uncle Bryn was written specifically for Rob Brydon, who had been to school with Jones, whilst Pam was written specifically for Alison Steadman, who had also worked on Fat Friends. Jones had worked with Julia Davis in her sitcom Nighty Night, and the role of Dawn was written with her in mind. Additionally, Corden had appeared with Adrian Scarborough in the Alan Bennett-penned play and film, The History Boys, which led to him being cast in the role of Pete. An audition process was used to cast the roles of Mick and Gwen, whilst the roles of Gavin's friends were given to Corden's co-stars in The History Boys.
Although the programme is set in Billericay, Essex, and Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, the three series were shot largely in Cardiff (which acted as the city itself but also as parts of Billericay), and also in Barry itself and the surrounding area, including Dinas Powys, Sully and Penarth. The show's popularity has been credited with boosting the tourist trade to Barry and its popular seafront of Barry Island, through visitors wishing to visit the various filming locations. Gavin's house was set in Billericay but was actually filmed on location in Laburnam Way, Dinas, Powys in Wales. The opening episode features location shooting in Leicester Square in London which was filmed in 2006.
After the debut of the show on BBC Three, a second series was soon commissioned. Speaking about the second series, Corden said "It's the show that we wanted to make. If people like it, they like it: if they don't, they don't. That's a nice feeling, that's quite freeing... There's more of a journey and more of a story. We hope the viewers will feel like they've been taken on a little trip by it", while Jones said "Series one had a very specific storyline to it, boy meets girl and it ends in a wedding. We don't have the same type of storyline in the second series. It's now girl lives with boy's parents in Essex and the joys that might entail."
There was initially uncertainty over whether a third series would be produced. In an April 2008 interview, Jones said "We never intended to write a second series let alone a third. We don't want it to become predictable. We will see how the Christmas special goes and take it from there." Corden added: "We will write one if we can make it better. We have to be true to ourselves." Corden and Jones completed the final draft of the Christmas Special by September 2008, although they ruled out writing the third series at the time due to pressures of other work, and repeating the wish not to produce a sub-standard script. After the 2008 Christmas special premiere, BBC Three aired a making-of documentary about the special, titled 12 Days of Christmas.
Corden and Jones eventually announced there would be a third series produced, on 21 December 2008 just before the 2008 Christmas special aired, as Jones performed her final BBC Radio Wales Sunday Brunch radio show to a live audience on Barry Island.
The first and second series were premièred on the digital only channel BBC Three, and were promoted to repeat airings on BBC Two. The 2008 Christmas Special and third series were first aired on BBC One, by which time the first and second series had also been repeated on BBC One. The penultimate episode of the series, on Christmas Day 2009, was the fourth most watched programme of the day. The show's finale on the following New Year's Day was the fifth most watched programme on that day, behind EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctor Who.
The show was nominated for and won several awards throughout its run, with two notable wins being the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs) Audience Award, and the British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Award, both in 2008.
In the December 2007 British Comedy Awards, the show won Best New British TV Comedy, losing in the Best New TV Comedy category to Peep Show. James Corden and Ruth Jones won Best Male and Female Comedy Newcomer respectively, with fellow cast members Mathew Horne and Joanna Page having also been nominated in the same categories. The show was also named Best New British TV Sitcom in the 2007 The Comedy.co.uk Awards.
In April 2008 the show won two awards in the BAFTAs, the Audience Award, and Best Comedy Performance for James Corden. In December 2008 the show won Best TV Comedy in the 2008 British Comedy Awards. In the 2009 BAFTAs Rob Brydon was nominated for Best Comedy Performance as Bryn.
In the National Television Awards in January 2010, Gavin and Stacey won the award for Best Comedy
Immediately after the end of series 2, in April 2008 The Guardian described the show as the "BBC 3's biggest breakout comedy hit since Little Britain", while Deborah Orr wrote that the show was "amiable, unpretentious, well-scripted, nicely acted and archly amusing. It's a good series, taking its place in a well-worn comedic progression, stretching back to The Liver Birds".
Just before the third series aired, The Independent described how the show had developed from a respectable début on BBC3 to an award winning show with mainstream popularity after the BBC2 Christmas special, although it noted a perception from some that the show shouldn't "get above itself". With its mainstream acceptance however, it was of the opinion that the show had all the ingredients to become an "audience-pleasing family sitcom in the tradition of Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family – churning out series after series and Christmas special after Christmas special", although by then, the writers had already ruled out future full series.
News of future series and specials has been inconsistent, with some cast members often speculating about more material whilst others deny it. Once the third series was completed, Corden and Jones categorically ruled out making any future series of the show. Corden said "There will never be another series of the show, I think Ruth and I are definite about that.", while Jones said, "Where would we go with it?...No, it's really time to say goodbye to these characters now". Jones ruled out a film version, declaring the show "very much belongs to the little screen, not the big one".
Immediately after the show's series three finale, fans began internet campaigns for a fourth series to be produced, while other cast members expressed mixed views.
However, whilst the cast and crew have ruled out the possibility of another series, many have hinted at the possibility of another future Christmas "special". After the third series, James Corden stated: 'As far as "specials" are concerned, I think if we had an idea for a story with these characters then maybe, but I don't think that'll happen any time soon.' In January 2010, Larry Lamb predicted a future Christmas "special", stating 'Clearly the audience loves it and I would be very surprised if it did not come back for a Christmas episode.' In September 2010, writer Ruth Jones also discussed the possibility of a future one-off "special". She stated 'A lot of it is to do with logistics, because we haven't ruled out doing a "special" at some point in the future, but we're not doing one this Christmas.' Alison Steadman welcomed the suggestion, stating, 'A "special" would be great. I think another series... perhaps, the story's been told. But a "special" would be... I'd love that, I'd absolutely love it if that happened.'
Appearing on the 2011 edition of the Ruth Jones Christmas Box for BBC, James Corden, a guest, talked with Jones about the possibility of writing another show. They both agreed that, one day, they would make a "special", although no date was set, as they were yet to think of a good enough plot. They agreed that if it were to happen, it must not disappoint. Ruth said she would love to make a musical of the show, and both she and James sang a couple of lines, in character, to see how it would work.
Mathew Horne, whilst appearing on the Alan Carr: Chatty Man talk show on Channel 4 on Friday 22 July 2011 speculated there might have been "something happening" with Gavin & Stacey in 2012. When he appeared on Loose Women on 13 September 2012, he doubted the production of a full series, but claimed a special episode was possible, citing it as a Hallowe'en or Bonfire Night special rather than a Christmas special, stating like he'd "love to see Gavin and Smithy go trick or treating". Speaking in October 2013, Mathew Horne said he would love to star in a fourth series, but admitted it would be a "risk" to do another series in case it didn't live up to expectations.
James Corden said in November 2013 that he would love to work with Ruth Jones again but he didn't know if it would be to make more Gavin and Stacey or something new but he did say he would like to pop in on the Gavin and Stacey characters in a one off special.
Ruth Jones said in January 2014 that she would like to work with Corden again and make a Gavin & Stacey special or a film.
In October 2014, Joanna Page said that Gavin & Stacey would not return as she thought that the show ended in 2010.
In March 2016, Ruth Jones denied claims that Gavin & Stacey would be returning, saying "there are no plans to make a new one."
In March 2008, it was reported the American network NBC had bought the rights to produce an American remake from Baby Cow Productions. Initial ideas according to Corden were to have Gavin coming from New Jersey and Stacey from South Carolina, meeting up in New York City. In December 2008 however, Jones stated "There was a script written for NBC. They optioned it, but then that went away. I read the script and it wasn't great to be honest with you. But now ABC are looking into writing a pilot and hopefully that will work out". At the time, both Corden and Jones were reportedly acting as executive producers of the ABC version, while interviewing other people for the job of writing the adaptation.
ABC pilot (2009–10)
In September 2009 it was reported that ABC had ordered a pilot for an American remake, to be written by Stacy Traub and Hayes Jackson, and produced by BBC Worldwide. Although one year later, it was confirmed that the project had been cancelled. A source said: “It’s a massive shame as we had high hopes for the show. We loved the idea of seeing how the characters would have worked across the pond.”
Fox (2013–14): Us & Them
On 8 May 2013, Fox announced that an American remake, Us & Them, would be broadcast in the network's 2013–14 schedule. Thirteen episodes were ordered. However, on 11 October 2013, it was revealed that only 6 episodes would air after production went into early hiatus, a hiatus which then became permanent. In June 2014, Fox announced that the 6 episodes would never air on the network.
Gavin & Stacey has aired on BBC Entertainment, BBC America and BBC Canada channels. In addition, it has also screened in Australia (Seven Network, 7TWO, ABC2 and UK-TV), Belgium/Flanders (Acht), Israel (HOT V.O.D and Yes Stars Comedy), Ireland (RTÉ Two), in The Netherlands (RTL 8), Iceland (Stöð 2), New Zealand (TV ONE), Portugal (RTP2), Sweden (SVT) and Spain/Catalonia (3XL).
Characters from the show have gone on to appear outside the series' episodes in aid of various charitable causes.
Barry Islands in the Stream
In the fifth episode of the second series (6 April 2008), for Gwen's birthday barn dance, Bryn and Nessa perform a duet of "Islands in the Stream". On 21 February 2009, this was adapted into "Barry Islands In The Stream", a musical mini-sketch aired for Comic Relief. In a storyline that sees Bryn and Nessa invited to compete in the World Karaoke Championships in Las Vegas, Nessa bumps into her old friend Tom Jones, who joins them on stage, and also features Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Also released as a charity single, it debuted in the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart on 15 March 2009.
For Red Nose Day 2009 on 13/14 March, the main telethon event for Comic Relief, a second sketch was aired where James Corden, in character as Smithy, has a chance encounter with the England national football team and proceeds to give them some advice on tactics and teamwork. "Barry Islands In The Stream" was also performed live for the Top of the Pops 2009 Red Nose Day special.
There have been two charity episodes depicted as a "spin-off" of Gavin & Stacey called Smithy, starring James Corden as the title character.
For Sport Relief 2010 on 19 March 2010, Corden appeared again as Smithy in a long sketch about coaching. Corden had previously recorded a live 9 minute segment during the December 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony. It sees Smithy being presented with the Coach of the Year Award for his unsung coaching influence on several British sports stars. As he jokes with the audience he declares he can't accept the award, and goes on to rant at the assembled sporting stars for having 'lost their way' and focusing on celebrity, ending on a rousing appeal to get back to basics, leaving hosts Sue Barker and Gary Lineker in mock tears. As a backstory, sketches are shown of how Smithy coached Tom Daley, Andrew Flintoff, Andy Murray, Jenson Button, David Beckham and the Manchester United team.
On 19 December 2010, Corden appeared as Smithy in the live ceremony for the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, announcing that Sport Relief had raised over £44m, expressing his doubts that England manager Fabio Capello would win the coach of the year award, and giving the 15 times Darts World Champion Phil Taylor his backing as a candidate for the main award, praising his dedication to training by going down the pub every night sinking pints.
There was another episode of Smithy for the 2011 Comic Relief appeal guest starring Lenny Henry, Richard Curtis, George Michael, Dermot O'Leary, JLS (Aston Merrygold, Marvin Humes, Oritsé Williams and JB Gill), Davina McCall, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Sebastian Coe, Gordon Brown, Robert Winston, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Rio Ferdinand, Keira Knightley, Richard Madeley, Clare Balding, Tom Daley, Justin Bieber and surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
Corden appeared as Smithy again on Michael McIntyre's Christmas Roadshow on BBC One on 25 December 2011. The sketch showed Smithy in a dating-show style spoof with Miranda Hart as her TV alter ego.
He again appeared at Comic Relief, this time in 2013, in the live studio itself. He went on to rant about all the world's issues and his opinions on them.
Corden appeared as the character again for 2016's Sport Relief, where Smithy campaigns to be elected as Sepp Blatter's replacement as the president of FIFA.
Channel 4 Comedy Gala
On 30 March 2010, Corden and Jones appeared in character as Smithy and Nessa as part of Channel 4's Comedy Gala, held at the O2 Arena in London in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, broadcast on Channel 4 on 5 April 2010. Following on from the events of the final episode, they arrive in London on a day trip from Barry Island, with Neil the baby in tow.
The decision was made by BBC Worldwide to release the full DVD box set of series three on the 7 December 2009, in time for the Christmas rush, despite not all of the series having aired in the UK. There was some criticism, with Liberal Democrat media spokesperson Don Foster saying it devalued the licence fee. Despite this release, subsequent episodes still saw some of the show's highest viewing figures.